Guardians of the Galaxy has held the number one spot at the box office four of the six weeks it’s been out, and has grossed over $500 million worldwide. It’s official – everyone loves Guardians of the Galaxy. But its heyday at the theatres will soon be drawing to a close. Fall movies are just around the corner and we’ll be forced to wait for the DVD and Blu Ray to re-live the magic. So to help make the wait a little more bearable here are six books for fans of the interstellar outlaws to read in the meantime.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
I have to start with this one, as it’s the space opera du jour. I like to think of Ancillary Justice as the little novel that could. Science fiction is a tough genre, especially for a female writer. And its story is definitely unique. For one thing it’s told from the perspective of a spaceship.
But when John Scalzi says a book is “unexpected, compelling and very cool,” and it goes on to win not only the Hugo but the Nebula, British Science Fiction Award, Locus, and Arthur C. Clarke Award as well, you’ve definitely done something right.
If Guardians of the Galaxy specifically made you want to go out and explore the fabulous sub-genre that is space opera, this is the book to start with.
Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Maybe spaceships aren’t your thing. Maybe it was the coming together of a ragtag group of rebels that made you love Guardians of the Galaxy.
Well then let me introduce you to Jeth Seagrave and his group of teenage mercenaries who make up the crew of the spaceship Avalon. They make a living stealing metatech and hiding out from the corrupt agencies that rule the Confederation. That is until they stumble across a far-reaching conspiracy and have to make a stand for truth and freedom.
Not only is this a good pick for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s also perfect for all you Browncoats out there.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Maybe you don’t need the whole group of outlaws. Maybe you only need one unlikely hero.
Ready Player One is the story of Wade Watts, who lives on Earth in the year 2044. He spends most of his time plugged into OASIS, essentially a virtual reality version of the internet. It’s a way for him to escape the dreary existence that is everyday life. But that’s not the only reason he spends time there. He’s also searching for the fortune hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday. To find it, he’ll need to solve riddles based on the Halliday’s favourite hobby – 20th century pop culture.
When he stumbles across the first clue he soon finds himself at the centre of a global race to the finish. If you like action and puzzles and are a pop culture junkie, this should be at the top of your list.
The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
Now if you’re anything like me, you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, but you’re getting a little tired of all these male-led comic book movies. If that’s the case let me introduce you to Renna Carrizal, the most notorious thief in the galaxy and Star Lord’s female equivalent.
In the midst of her most recent job, Renna is captured by MYTH, a top-secret government agency. And she’s given a choice – help them on their latest mission or go to prison. Which isn’t much of a choice at all. And as a bonus Jamie Grey throws in a bit of romance with the mercenary turned good-guy Captain Finn. It’s a recipe for drama, scandal, and deception.
Despite the circumstances, the unlikely crew must work together to save the galaxy – sound familiar?
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
If one badass heroine isn’t enough for you and you’re tired of space, then take a trip to London at the turn of the century with The Friday Society.
It’s the story of three very clever girls, Cora, a lab assistant; Michiko, a Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, a magician’s assistant. They’re all from different walks of life, but they find their fates intertwined as they attempt to solve a series of crimes (and one murder) happening around London. They’re not going to let the fact that they’re merely assistants stop them from saving the day.
It may not seem like it has much in common with the Guardians of the Galaxy but the action, personalities and themes are sure to resonate.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
If fantasy is more of your genre of choice then the world of The Gentleman Bastards is for you. Much like Robin Hood, the legend of the Thorn of Camorr has spread amongst the people. Rumour is he’s an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, and a friend to the poor. But the truth is Thorn is actually Locke Lamora, and while he is an excellent thief he doesn’t give a dime to the poor. He keeps it for himself and his band of thieves – the Gentleman Bastards. It’s a story of outlaws, shadow societies, and danger. Think Guardians of the Galaxy with less heroics and more notoriety and mayhem.